Dependable Erection

Monday, October 30, 2006

Exploding headlines

Bush accuses Democrats of lacking plan for Iraq

i can't even bring myself to actually read the story.

Continue reading Exploding headlines

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Fayetteville St., Durham, NC
Happy Halloween!


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Throw the bums out

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Via MyDD

Continue reading Throw the bums out

"Despite the difficult challenges we face, success in Iraq is possible ... on a realistic timetable."

At least, according to Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to Iraq.

Won't George Bush be thrilled to hear that success in Iraq is possible?

Continue reading "Despite the difficult challenges we face, success in Iraq is possible ... on a realistic timetable."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kevin Tillman speaks about his brother, Pat

Just go read it, OK?

Continue reading Kevin Tillman speaks about his brother, Pat

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Department of Really Bad Analogies

From an AP story on the wires right now:

GOP losses could spark partisan warfare

WASHINGTON - The White House is bracing for guerrilla warfare on the homefront politically if Republicans lose control of the House, the Senate or both — and with it, the president's ability to shape and dominate the national agenda.

Let's see, 83 US troops dead in Iraq so far this month. Another AP story contains these paragraphs:

In all Sunday, at least 44 Iraqis were killed or their bodies were founded dumped along roads or in the Tigris River. While the number was not high by the grim standards of the more than 3 1/2-year war, the timing and targets revealed a brutal disregard for the sanctity and meaning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is to Muslims what Christmas is to Christians.

Sunday's killings raised to at least 950 the number of Iraqis who have died in war-related violence this month, an average of more than 40 a day. The toll is on course to make October the deadliest month for Iraqis since April 2005, when The Associated Press began tracking the deaths.

Until this month, the daily average had been about 27. The AP count includes civilians, government officials and police and security forces, and is considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual number is likely higher, as many killings go unreported.

The United Nations has said at least 100 Iraqis are now killed daily.

What will happen in the US government should Democrats retake the House, the Senate, or both, is not "guerrilla warfare." It's democracy and justice.

Shame on the AP for allowing a story with that headline and lede to go out over the wires while real people are bleeding and dying in real war.

(Update: 7:50 pm) - Looks like at least one AP editor agrees. The headline has now been changed to read "Bush braces for fight if GOP loses House"; but the lede remains the same.

(Update 2: 9:10 pm) - Yet another new headline from AP: "White House bracing for loss of Congress."

(Update 3: 9:50 am)
- The latest revision of this story, timestamped 6:18 am, reverts back to the original, offensive headline. How sad.

Continue reading Department of Really Bad Analogies

Troika Music Festival

A big, fat, thank you with wet kisses to the organizers, venue hosts, performers, and volunteers who put together the just concluded Troika Music Festival in Durham.

Too much music for any one person too enjoy, but the sets i caught from A Rooster for the Masses, MidTown Dickens, Joe Romeo and the Orange County Volunteers, The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers, Torch Marauder's Grappling Hook, Dom Casual, and Wigg Report more than satisfied my local music jones.

Thanks again everyone.


Continue reading Troika Music Festival

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 421, Watauga County, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, October 21, 2006

2006 MLB All-Name Team

Tonight is game one of the 2006 World Series, which means it's time to unveil the All-Name squad for this year.

Here are the rules. All members of the team must be a part of their team's 40 man roster. They need not be active, nor have actually played in any games to be part of the team. The All-Name team will also have a 40 man roster, a 25 man active roster (subset of the 40 player roster), and a 9 player starting line-up drawn from the active roster. The only requirement to make the team is the sound the name makes coming out of the announcer's lips. Alliterative names are good, as are names with an internal rhyme. Having a good Chris Berman nickname (such as Jim "Two Silhouettes on" DeShaies, or Rudy "This Is" Seanez) is only mildly helpful.

Here we go:

40 man (inactive) roster:


Jose Arredondo - California Angels
Kiko Calero - Oakland Athletics
Kirk Saarloos - Oakland Athletics
Ty Taubenheim - Toronto Blue Jays
Macay McBride - Atlanta Braves
Tomo Ohka - Milwaukee Brewers
Yhency Brazopan - Los Angeles Dodgers
Shane Youman - Pittsburgh Pirates

Humberto Quintero - Houston Astros

Lyle Overbay - Toronto Blue Jays
Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers
Travis Ishikawa - San Francisco Giants
Alfredo Amezaga - Florida Marlins
Robinson Cano - New York Yankees

Grady Sizemore - Cleveland Indians

On the bench/In the bullpen


Chris Bootcheck - Los Angeles Angels
Jason Isringhausen - St. Louis Cardinals
Franquelis Osoria - Los Angeles Dodgers
Fausto Carmona - Cleveland Indians
J.J. Putz - Seattle Mariners
Yusmeiro Petit - Florida Marlins
Royce Ring - New York Mets
Ambiorix Burgos - Kansas City Royals
Boof Bonser - Minnesota Twins


Einar Diaz - Los Angeles Dodgers
Yorvit Torrealba - Colorado Rockies


Yuniesky Betancourt - Seattle Mariners
Larry Broadway - Washington Nationals


Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
Terrmel Sledge - San Diego Padres
Nook Logan - Washington Nationals

Starting Lineup

Coco Crisp - Center field - Boston Red Sox
Jhonny Peralta - Second Base - Cleveland Indians
Hiram Bocachica - Right field - Kansas City Royals
Jorge Cantu - Third Base - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Yadier Molina - Catcher - St. Louis Cardinals
Lastings Milledge - Left field - New York Mets
Placido Polanco - Shortstop - Detroit Tigers
Troy Tulowitzki - First base - Colorado Rockies
Merkin Valdez - Pitcher - San Francisco Giants


Continue reading 2006 MLB All-Name Team

Friday, October 20, 2006


Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals on their dramatic ninth inning win over the Mets last night in game 7 of the NLCS. As the Great Baseball Scribe himself has said, "Wait till next year."

The Cardinals' victory sets up a rematch of sorts of the 1968 World Series between these same two teams, a Series which was a true October Classic in every sense of the word. The Cardinals had future Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Orlando Cepeda in their everyday lineup, Bob Gibson on the mound for Games 1, 4 and 7, and three other playres (Curt Flood, Roger Maris, and Tim McCarver) for whom Hall of Fame credentials can be claimed. The Tigers were led by their aging superstar Al Kaline, former AL batting champ Norm Cash, and Denny McClain, the first (and last) 30 game winner in 3 decades.

Gibson beat McClain in Games 1 and 4, Mickey Lolich defeated Nelson Briles in Games 2 and 5, and by virtue of their 7-3 victory in Game 3, the Cards had a 3-2 advantage when the Series returned to St. Louis for Games 6 and 7. Denny McClain took the mound on two days rest for Game 6, and shut the Cardinals down, giving up only a single run in the 9th inning of a 13-1 blowout. It was up to unlikely hero Mickey Lolich to do the same against Cardinal ace Gibson in Game 7, and he came through, again giving up just a single run in the 9th and winning 4-1.

The 68 Series was also noted for the stirring, soulful, and very Hispanic version of the National Anthem sung by Jose Feliciano before Game 5 in Detroit, which was not recieved very well by fans and viewers around the country. Feliciano's website notes:

He wanted to sing an anthem of gratitude to a country that had given him a chance; who had allowed a blind kid with a dream reach far above his limitations, far beyond the expected to a place few at his young age, had achieved. He wanted to sing an anthem of praise to a country that had given a better life to him and his family.

Playing slowly and meaningfully on a sunny October afternoon, he felt the vastness of the stadium and the presence of so many listening to him as he began to sing, " Oh, say, can you see?..." . Before he had completed his performance, however, he could feel the discontent within the waves of cheers and applause that spurred on the first pitch. "Wonder what that was about?," he thought, as he was escorted to the press box to enjoy a couple of innings before his flight back to Vegas for his shows later that evening.

"Do you know what you did?", He was asked by someone in the box. "You're causing a furor! The switchboard is lighting up with calls from people complaining about your singing The National Anthem!"

"My God", He thought, as the great controversy exploded across the country. Veterans, reportedly, threw their shoes at the television as he sang. Others questioned his right to stay in the United States, suggesting he should be deported (to where, exactly, had never been mentioned as those from Puerto Rico are, of course, American citizens)! Still others just attributed it to the times and felt sad for the state of our country.

There were, obviously, many who understood the depth and breadth of his rendition. Those, young and old, who weren't jaded by the negativity which surrounded anything new, anything a little different. It was unusual. It was beautifully done. It certainly was sincere.

The controversy was to shadow Feliciano and his music for many years. It inspired a sense of compassion about our Anthem which, until that time, had pretty much been taken for granted. It became the topic of conversation in circles that never discussed patriotism and, it brought about a sense of commitment to whatever side of the line one stood.

Today, it is common to hear our National Anthem performed in a stylized fashion. Some renditions are clearly better than others, still sparking some criticism. You will, however, notice that it is very acceptable, indeed admirable, to deliver an intensely personal interpretation of The National Anthem.

This was not the case before Jose Feliciano.

As the comedian Robert Klein later joked, "I guess the only reason they didn't kill him on the spot is that he's blind."

2006 is reminiscent of 1968 in other ways than just a World Series rematch. An unpopular president trying to rally the country around his unpopular war, a potential sea change in the political climate.

1968 of course, was a watershed year in American history, and even as a twelve year old experiencing it mostly through TV and newspapers, the extraordinariness of the turmoil was painful. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy both assassinated in the spring, the former shortly after he began speaking out against the continued US engagement in the Vietnam war, the latter as he celebrated a victory in the California primary which would likely propel him to the Democratic party nomination for the presidency. Riots in many cities changed the urban landscape permanently. The 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago scarred the party for generations. In many ways, it never recovered. Racial and class schisms, for which a general prosperity of the 50s and early 60s had been able to minimize, were now being exploited by a conservative movement which saw an opportunity to achieve power that had not existed since before the Great Depression. The new Republican Southern strategy, embraced by Richard Nixon, pitted working class whites against blacks and Hispanics, claiming that white prosperity was threatened by minorities on welfare. In its most extreme and virulent form, the right wing would claim (and still does) that the survival of white, christian America was at stake.

Another reminder of 1968 has been in the news this week. With all of the pre-election madness, the polls showing the likelihood of a Democratic victory, perhaps a landslide; the Mark Foley/Dennis Hastert coverup in the House of Representatives; the emergence of a second Republican in the Connecticut Senate race; with all that, i think a recent acknowledgement by President Bush of the parallels between his Iraq war and the war in Vietnam marked an important rhetorical and psychological change that has gone largely uncommented on. This change in rhetoric and psychology should indicate to those of us who opposed this war from its inception that the time is now right to push for the US to conclude its part in the war, to ensure that those who led us into this war are punished for their criminal arrogance and willful violation of both the Constitution of the United States and international law, and to fight to make sure that our elected representatives and leaders are never able to do this again.

Tom Friedman wrote a column the other day, as off target as most of his work. But he said this:

In the competition for the biggest “October surprise” of the 2006 election cycle, it might seem hard to top North Korea’s nuclear test. But I’d suggest that in time we’ll come to see the events unfolding — or rather, unraveling — in Iraq today as the real October surprise, because what we’re seeing there seems like the jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive.

For those of you too young to remember, the Tet offensive was the series of attacks undertaken by the Vietcong and North Vietnamese armies between Jan. 30, 1968 — the start of the Lunar New Year — and June 1969. Although the Vietcong and Hanoi were badly mauled during Tet, they delivered, through the media, such a psychological blow to U.S. hopes of “winning” in Vietnam that Tet is widely credited with eroding support for President Johnson and driving him to withdraw as a candidate for re-election.

For someone possessed of the Moustache of Understanding, Friedman is uncannily dense. And for someone who has the platform and audience he does, that denseness can rise to the level of a felony.

The lesson of the Tet offensive is not that the VC and the NVA "delivered, through the media, such a psychological blow to U.S. hopes of “winning” in Vietnam", that Lyndon Johnson had to decline to seek re-election. What the Tet offensive did was put the lie to 4 years of American propaganda bullshit that the war was going well, that we were winning, that our body counts were constantly improving, that the puppet government we had installed in South Vietnam had the support of the people, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

What Tet did was reveal to the world, and to the American people, who are not that dense after all, that our government had been doing nothing else but lying about the Vietnam war. That our government was putting at risk half a million of our soldiers at a time, perhaps 2 million total, to defend absolutely nothing else but the government's own ability to project bullshit. Tet made crystal clear that US military actions in Vietnam, including chemical and ecological warfare, and virtually unimaginable death and destruction, had no chance of succeeding, and had, as its sole purpose, its own self-perpetuation. We were in Vietnam because we were in Vietnam, and we were going to stay because if we didn't, we wouldn't be in Vietnam.

Friedman alone is not enough to signal the rhetorical and psychological changewinds which are blowing, even if he is somewhat like a weathercock on a fallingdown barn. But the acknowlegement by none other than George W. Bush, whose intellectual acuity may rival that of Friedman, even if he's not as wealthy, that Friedman is right, is a key milemarker.

"He could be right," the president said, before adding, "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election."

"George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we'd leave," Bush said. "And the leaders of al Qaeda have made that very clear. Look, here's how I view it. First of all, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. They are dangerous. They are lethal. They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they're trying to foment sectarian violence. They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw."

Bush said he could not imagine any circumstances under which all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of his presidency.

From the beginning, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the whole lot of them currently sitting in the seats of power in Washington, have done nothing but lie to the American people about Iraq. Whether it was weapons of mass destruction; the toppling of Saddam's statue; the predictions of a cakewalk with candy and flowers for liberating American troops; to the depiction if Iraqi fighters as "deadenders;" claims that the Iraqi resistance would fade away following the death of Saddam's sons, the capture of Saddam himself, the killing of al-Zarqawi; Operation Forward Together and its recent abandonment; all we have gotten from our leaders are lies.

When morons like Thomas Friedman spout nonsense that claims our media are handing a propaganda victory to our enemies by reporting on the heightened violence in Iraq, when a tinpot would be dictator like George Bush repeats the claim that "They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw," all they are really doing is condemning thousands of more people to violent and bloody deaths in the name of preserving their own power. And that power is only used as an end in itself. The Amreican adventure in Iraq, predicated as it was on lies, greed, and manipulation, has already failed. Recovering from it will take a generation or more. The sooner we start, by removing at least some of the levers of power from these criminals on November 7, the better.

Continue reading 1968

Thursday, October 19, 2006

We get mail

From Congressman Jack Murtha

Dear Barry,

Do you believe that a veteran who dares to speak out against the Bush administration forfeits his or her right to be honored for service to America?

Of course not. But people who do are spending millions of dollars right now spreading lies and smears against veterans.

Help The Patriot Project expose and stop anti-veteran hate groups.

I've seen first hand the good work that The Patriot Project has done. When the so-called "Vets for the Truth" started attacking me, my record, and my right to speak the truth about the war in Iraq, The Patriot Project fought back. They exposed how "Vets for the Truth" had been set up and who was behind the funding of it. (Here's a hint: the group is really run by a man who describes himself as "good friends" with Karl Rove.)

When these scumbags organized a rally here in Pennsylvania, The Patriot Project went to work again.

They take on the people who think that, in a tough political spot, outright lying about a veteran's record is fair game.

Let's give The Patriot Project the help they need to give these characters a swift kick.

Help The Patriot Project expose and stop anti-veteran hate groups

The Patriot Project is a smart, determined initiative to expose and stop shadowy groups that pop up and callously disparage the records of veterans with outright lies.

They're up against people with big budgets and no principles. And their work has never been more important than it is right now. I urge you to take a stand against anti-veteran hate groups right now.

Let's go get 'em.

Jack Murtha

Make A Contribution

Paid for by Friends of John Kerry.

Continue reading We get mail

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Final Frontier

You know, when Yglesias first proposed the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics, i thought he was being ironic.

Turns out, not so much.

US President George W Bush has signed an order which asserts the US right to block access to space to any country or group deemed hostile to its interests.

The document says the US is determined to protect its interests in outer space and will defeat any adversary who threatens them.

The order rejects any proposals to ban space weapons.

But the White House said the policy document was not a prelude to putting weapons in orbit.

However, military experts warn that by refusing to enter into negotiations on space weaponry, the US is likely to fuel international suspicions that it will develop such weapons.

The document was the first revision in US space policy for 10 years.

President Bush authorised the policy in August but it was not released until October. Declassified elements of the document have been posted on the US government's science and technology website.

The policy states the importance of space militarily to the US.

"Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power," it says.

It's time to send these clowns to the Phantom Zone so the rest of us can just get on with the business of making this a better place to live.

Continue reading The Final Frontier

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday evening church marquee blogging

Unitarian Church, Highway 421, Boone, NC


Continue reading Sunday evening church marquee blogging

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Probably the single most depressing piece of news from Iraq in the past 3+ years; the more so because it was all so damn predictable.

Dozens of bodies found in Baghdad

By Ross Colvin

Tue Oct 10, 8:44 PM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi police found 50 bodies dumped across Baghdad on Tuesday, apparent victims of sectarian death squads, and a bombing at a bakery in the capital killed 10 people in the biggest single attack of the day.

The discovery of the bodies, many tortured and all shot, brought to at least 110 the number found in Baghdad in the past two days, an Interior Ministry official said.

A bomb placed under a car outside a bakery in the mostly Sunni Arab southern Baghdad district of Doura reduced the shop to rubble and killed 10 people, many who had been queuing outside to buy bread, police said.

At least 25 others were killed in bombings and shootings around
Iraq, police and Interior Ministry officials said.

Iraq has been gripped by Sunni-Shi'ite bloodletting since the bombing of a revered Shi'ite Muslim shrine in February. The
United Nations estimates 100 Iraqis die violently every day.

The violence rages on largely unchecked despite U.S. efforts to build up Iraq's fledgling security forces, a major security crackdown in the capital and a series of peace plans by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's four-month-old government.

Dozens of explosions rocked the capital for several hours on Tuesday night, alarming residents more used to sporadic mortar and rocket attacks, but the U.S. military said the cause was a fire at an ammunition dump at a U.S. base in southern Baghdad.

"The fire ignited tank and artillery ordnance as well as small arms ammunition," the military said in a statement.

U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver told Reuters the cause of the fire, which lit up the night sky, was under investigation.


The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of a number of militant groups operating in the country, claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The Islamic Army ... (launched) rockets and mortar bombs ... at a base for the occupying American forces. Explosions could be heard in Baghdad," said the statement signed by the group and posted on a Web site often used by Islamist militants.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. A spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Withington, said the base had been safely evacuated.

Three U.S. Marines were killed in action in Anbar province in western Iraq on Monday, the U.S. military said. Anbar is the heartland of the Sunni insurgency against Maliki's Shi'ite-led government and U.S. forces.

The deaths brought to at least 37 the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq since the start of October.

The U.S. military said on Tuesday it killed seven insurgents in an air strike on a building in Ramadi, capital of Anbar, after U.S. troops came under "extremely heavy fire."

U.S. officials had predicted a surge in violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in late September.

Maliki's government is under growing pressure, particularly from Washington, to rein in sectarian militias, several of which are tied to parties within his own government and are accused of infiltrating the police to provide cover for killings.

Most of the bodies found dumped in Baghdad's streets had been shot in the head execution-style and bore signs of torture, typical features of sectarian death squad killings that the Interior Ministry says claims about 50 lives a day.

A ministry official had earlier reported the discovery of 60 bodies in the 24 hours until Tuesday morning, but a further 50 were found during the day, officials said.

(Additional reporting by Aseel Kami and Mariam Karouny)

That major security crackdown in the capital referenced above was Operation Forward Together, announced with much fanfare at the beginning of the summer. This joint US-Iraqi show of force in Baghdad was supposed to make the city safe and secure, and give Iraqis confidence that their new government was up to the task of providing security aroudn the country.

It's hard to describe this program as anything other than a monumental failure. No wonder that only 3% of the populace thinks things are going "very well" in Iraq.

Continue reading Depressing


The Troika Music Festival returns this year as an exclusively Durham event, after last year's foray to other parts of the Triangle.

Smart move.

Aside from sharing an airport with Raleigh and a basketball rivalry with Chapel Hill, Durham doesn't have that much in common with the other points of the triangle. Celebrating our own scene works.

Check out the schedule, pick up a festival pass, and make your plans.

Must see set for me is A Rooster for the Masses at Joe and Jo's on Wednesday. Biggest disappointment is that Torch Marauder and Mountain Goats are on different stages at the same time on Friday night. Two of Durham's brightest lights, and you can only see one. An embarrasment of riches, i guess you could call it.


Continue reading Troika

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

New Horizons Church, Highway 70, Hillsborough, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday afternoon garden blogging


Continue reading Friday afternoon garden blogging

That's one small F.U. for (a) man, one giant F.U. for mankind

Atrios is one of the brightest stars in left blogistan, and there's really no reason for a pissant like me to link to him. He gets enough readers and has enough influence for any 10 bloggers. But he really hit a home run today, and i thought i'd share it here:

I know regulars understand this, but for those coming in late and wondering what all the discussion of Friedman Units of time is about, it began with FAIR pointing out that Friedman was forever labeling the next six months in Iraq as a critical, decisive time. But the real issue isn't about prognostication, but about the perpetual punting of The Iraq Question to a future date. It allows the pundit, or politician, to seem Real Concerned About The War without actually bothering to take it seriously.

George Bush is president. He is incompetent and a bit nuts. He is in charge of running the war. One half an F.U. or a full F.U. or even four F.U.s from now things in Iraq will be pretty much as they are, only a bit worse. If you are concerned about things in Iraq you'll stop furrowing your brow while pontificating about how we're, once again, At A Really Critical Moment, and start accepting the fact that the only thing which could possibly improve things is new leadership. This involves, at the very least: the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld and his replacement by a competent person, the resgination of Condi Rice and her replacement by a competent person, the permanent relegation of Dick Cheney to an undisclosed location far away from any actual power to make decisions, the replacement of the current military leadership who have been chosen for their loyalty to their incompetent civilian leaders, and the election of Democrats to Congress who can hopefully engage in some of the meaningful oversight that the Republicans have shown no interest in having in order to force some of these changes.

I didn't back this war, but those who did have an extra moral responsibility to the troops they sent there, their families, and the people of Iraq to prevent President Bush from continuing his incompetent leadership there. But most of them don't. They continue to punt the issue one F.U. at a time, while their little sociopathic brains dream of ponies.

One F.U. from now, what are you going to suggest we do differently? If you don't have a realistic answer to that, then I politely suggest you S.T.F.U.


Continue reading That's one small F.U. for (a) man, one giant F.U. for mankind

Maintaining power - It's job 1

From the Washington Post:

The White House and top House Republicans remain deeply nervous that the scandal will hurt them politically, and that additional information will come out contradicting statements by Hastert and others that they were unaware of Foley's sexual messages to underage boys, the lawmakers and officials said.

For now, they said, it would be politically disastrous for Republicans to oust Hastert because it would be viewed as akin to a public admission of guilt in the scandal, as well as a pre-election victory that would buoy Democrats and help their turnout efforts.

And that is the metaphor for this entire Administration and its corrupt, incompetent allies in the Congress.

You have a job to do, whether it's to adminster a program for teenagers serving as personal assistants to Congresspeople, or to keep the country safe from terrorist attack. When you screw it up, the most important thing to think about is not, fixing the problem, or making sure that in the future you don't make the same mistakes.

The most important consideration is whether or not dealing with your screwups will help the Democrats.

Tell me again where partisanship originates? Tell me again who puts party before country?

Continue reading Maintaining power - It's job 1

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Orwell taught us that doublethink was the means by which members of the Party were able to function:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be conradictiory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the art of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved using doublethink.

Kinda like this:

U.S. military spokesman Major General William Caldwell said the police brigade responsible for Baghdad's southern districts had been "pulled off-line" for retraining after Sunday's mass kidnapping of mainly Sunni Muslim factory workers in the Amil district.


Caldwell said the number of attacks had increased in Baghdad in past weeks "as expected," but that while the number of casualties was up in September, it "did not increase in proportion to the number of attacks."

"The overall effectiveness of the attacks and the enemy's ability to inflict casualties has decreased and has been decreasing since the June period," he said in Baghdad.

Insurgents shot dead two U.S. soldiers on Tuesday, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. One was killed in Baghdad and the other near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The deaths brought to 17 the number of U.S. soldiers killed since Saturday.

Caldwell said it had been a "hard week" for the U.S. military, which hopes to turn over more and more control of Iraqi territory to Iraq's security forces to enable it to begin withdrawing its more than 140,000 troops.

Or, as the AP notes:

The U.S. military also announced the death of two soldiers — the latest in what has been one of the bloodiest stretches of days for American troops this year. At least 17 troops have been killed in combat since Saturday, including eight U.S. soldiers who died in gunbattles and bomb blasts Monday in Baghdad — the most killed in a single day in the capital since July 2005.

Doublethink. You don't even realize when you're using it.

Continue reading Doublethink

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gotta love it

Here's something i just realized in the Condi Rice incident. That's where Bob Woodward, in his new book State of Denial, writes that CIA Director George Tenet and his Associate Director Cofer Black briefed Condi on 10 July 2001 that a major terrorist strike was imminent. Condi, of course, claimed that she didn't recall the meeting.

But let's talk about John Ashcroft for a minute, shall we? Here's John being quoted in the earliest stories:

Meanwhile, former Attorney General
John Ashcroft said Monday that he should have been notified of any such report dealing with a pending attack on the United States. "It just occurred to me how disappointing it was that they didn't come to me with this type of information," Ashcroft said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"The FBI is responsible for domestic terrorism," Ashcroft said. He said both Tenet and Black should have been aware that he had pressed for a more aggressive policy in going after bin Laden and his followers in the United States and should have briefed him as well. Rice knew of this advocacy, he suggested.

Here's a later story:

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack later told reporters in Saudi Arabia's city of Jeddah that the State Department was able to confirm that Rice appeared to have had a meeting with Tenet and Black "on or about" July 10, 2001.

"The briefing was a summary of the threat reporting from the previous weeks. There was nothing new," McCormack said.

Despite this, McCormack said Rice asked that Tenet provide the same briefing to Rumsfeld and then U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the two men received it by July 17.

McCormack was unable to explain why Rice felt the briefing should be given to the defense secretary and the attorney general even though it did not include new material.

Was Ashcroft trying to give Condi cover by saying that the information must have been so insignificant that he wasn't brought on board, or was he sticking the shiv between the ribs by insinuating that he would have done a better job if only he had known? Either way, it's irrelevant, because the record shows he did in fact receive the same information, and he acted just as effectively as our then National Security Advisor, that is to say, not at all.

What a bunch of fuckups.

Continue reading Gotta love it

Monday, October 02, 2006

Meanwhile, back at the Crawford Ranch . . .


In "State of Denial: Bush at War Part III," Woodward describes a July 10, 2001 meeting in which George Tenet, then director of the
Central Intelligence Agency, and his top counterterrorism aide Cofer Black sought to impress on Rice their fears that an attack on the United States was likely.

According to an excerpt published in the Washington Post, Tenet made an abrupt request for a meeting with Rice in the hopes of shaking her. The account said both Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice, who gave them a polite hearing and a "brush-off."

The release of the book, less than six weeks before the November 7 mid-term congressional elections in the United States, has revived questions about whether
President Bush and his aides did enough to protect the United States before the September 11 attacks.

Rice said she had no specific recollection of the meeting, stressed that the threat reporting at the time was about potential attacks abroad rather than at home, and denied she was given a warning of a possible strike on the United States.

"I don't know that this meeting took place ... what I am quite certain of is that (it) was not a meeting in which I was told that there was an impending attack and I refused to respond," Rice told reporters as she flew to the Middle East.

"I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States. And the idea that I would somehow have ignored that, I find, incomprehensible," Rice added.

Oh, what do you say, perhaps a 45 minute session with the waterboard will help refresh Ms Rice's memory of this:

Continue reading Meanwhile, back at the Crawford Ranch . . .

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Baseball post-season time

For the first time since 1969, both of my teams are in the playoffs.

Win Twins!

Let's Go Mets!

Continue reading Baseball post-season time

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 55, Durham, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging